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Manticore illustration from The History of Four-footed Beasts (1607)

The manticore (Baricos in Greek) is a legendary creature similar to the Egyptian sphinx. It has the body of a red lion, a human head with three rows of sharp teeth (like a shark), and a trumpet-like voice. Other aspects of the creature vary from story to story. It may be horned, winged, or both. The tail is that of either a dragon or a scorpion, and it may shoot poisonous spines to either paralyze or kill its victims. The creature's feet may also be of a dragon, but are mostly referred to as lions paws.



The manticore myth was of Persian origin, where its name was "man-eater" (from early Middle Persian martya "man" (as in human) and xwar- "to eat"). The English term "manticore" was borrowed from Latin mantichora, itself borrowed from Greek mantikhoras—an erroneous pronunciation of the original Persian name. It passed into European folklore first through a remark by Ctesias, a Greek physician at the Persian court of King Artaxerxes II in the fourth century BC, in his notes on India ("Indika"), which circulated among Greek writers on natural history but have not survived. The Romanised Greek Pausanias, in his Description of Greece, recalled strange animals he had seen at Rome and commented,

The beast described by Ctesias in his Indian history, which he says is called martichoras by the Indians and "man-eater" by the Greeks, I am inclined to think is the tiger. But that it has three rows of teeth along each jaw and spikes at the tip of its tail with which it defends itself at close quarters, while it hurls them like an archer's arrows at more distant enemies; all this is, I think, a false story that the Indians pass on from one to another owing to their excessive dread of the beast. (Description, xxi, 5)

Pliny the Elder did not share Pausanias' skepticism. He followed Aristotle's natural history by including the martichoras—mistranscribed as manticorus in his copy of Aristotle and thus passing into European languages—among his descriptions of animals in Naturalis Historia, c. 77 AD.

Later, in The Life of Apollonius of Tyana Greek writer Flavius Philostratus (c. 170-247) wrote:

And inasmuch as the following conversation also has been recorded by Damis as having been held upon this occasion with regard to the mythological animals and fountains and men met with in India, I must not leave it out, for there is much to be gained by neither believing nor yet disbelieving everything. Accordingly Apollonius asked the question, whether there was there an animal called the man-eater (martichoras); and Iarchas replied: "And what have you heard about the make of this animal ? For it is probable that there is some account given of its shape." "There are," replied Apollonius, "tall stories current which I cannot believe; for they say that the creature has four feet, and that his head resembles that of a man, but that in size it is comparable to a lion; while the tail of this animal puts out hairs a cubit long and sharp as thorns, which it shoots like arrows at those who hunt it."[1]

Pliny's book was widely enjoyed and uncritically believed through the European Middle Ages, during which the manticore was sometimes illustrated in bestiaries. The manticore made a late appearance in heraldry, during the 16th century, and it influenced some Mannerist representations, as in Bronzino's allegory The Exposure of Luxury, (National Gallery, London)[2]— but more often in the decorative schemes called "grotteschi"— of the sin of Fraud, conceived as a monstrous chimera with a beautiful woman's face, and in this way it passed by means of Cesare Ripa's Iconologia into the seventeenth and eighteenth century French conception of a sphinx.

A manticore features as medieval sixteenth century graffiti on the wall of North Cerney church in Gloucestershire; it was seen as an unholy hybrid of the zodiacal signs Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius[3]

In modern fiction

Canadian writer Robertson Davies wrote a novel entitled The Manticore, published in 1972. It is the second volume of his "Deptford trilogy," which begins with Fifth Business and concludes with World of Wonders. The manticore figures into protagonist David's psychoanalysis under Jungian analyst Dr. Johanna Von Haller. Interpreted as a beast with a human face, or as part beast part human, David's dream of the manticore is reflective of himself and the roles he plays interacting with other people and society.[4] The manticore is also the creature that defeats Tarkus in the Emerson, Lake & Palmer opera. It was also in Rick Riordan's The Titan's Curse, the third book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Saga. Power Rangers: Mystic Force also has a Megazord called the Manticore Megazord, although that is not an actual manticore. J. K. Rowling references the manticore in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when Harry, Ron, and Hermione are searching for cases of maurading beasts to help Buckbeak the hippogriff. A manticore is an essential plot device in Piers Anthony's first Xanth novel, A Spell for Chameleon (and appears on the original paperback's cover). There is a Manticore in the Warhammer tabletop battle game, however, it does not have a human face, instead posessing the wings of a bat and a scorpions tail. It is primarily associated with the Chaos Dwarf faction.


  1. ^ Flavius Philostratus, The Life of Apollonius of Tyana, translated by F. C. Conybeare, volume I, book III. Chapter XLV, pp. 327-329.
  2. ^ John F. Moffitt, "An Exemplary Humanist Hybrid: Vasari's "Fraude" with Reference to Bronzino's 'Sphinx'" Renaissance Quarterly 49.2 (Summer 1996), pp. 303-333, traces the chimeric image of Fraud backwards from Bronzino.
  3. ^ Walker, Charles (1992). Mysterious Britain (2nd ed.). London: Grange Books. pp. 114. ISBN 1-85627-281-8. 
  4. ^ Surawicz B, Jacobson B (2009). Doctors in Fiction: Lessons from Literature. Radcliffe Publishing. p. 125. ISBN 1846193281. 

External links


Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!


Cover of City of Heroes, V2 #2

Real name Justin Sinclair
Status Active
Affiliations Freedom Phalanx, Wyvern
Previous affiliations
Notable powers Archery, Trick Arrows, Teleportation
Notes The lone wolf of the Freedom Phalanx.

Manticore Is one of the major players in the Freedom Phalanx, as well as being the alter-ego of dev Sean Michael Fish. He seems to be a bit of a cross between Green Arrow and Batman.


Justin Sinclair is currently following the tradition his father started. When his father, the first Manticore, and mother were slain in front of him by the villain Protean he was raised by Michael White, the Back Alley Brawler. Eventually, he tracked down and apparently killed Protean. He's by far the 'darkest' of the Freedom Phalanx, in addition to being its only non-powered member. He's even founded the Wyvern, a mercenary hero group to do what the more law-abiding Longbow will not, without the knowledge of the rest of the Phalanx. This attitude puts him at odds with Statesman, Statesman believes Manticore is too reckless while Manticore believes Statesman has given into his own hype, although at the end of the day they're still teammates.

Manticore's fighting ability comes from his variety of extremely expensive trick arrows, paid for with his family fortune. He's also able to tap into Paragon City's Mediport system to teleport around. In one issue of the comic he gained the ability to teleport his arrows through things, however this hasn't shown up anywhere else so it's safe to assume it was either temporary or non-canon.


Manticore watches over Crey in Brickstown, and offers a task force to heroes level 30-35, in which you hunt the Countess and her bodyguard. It's a fairly decent Task Force and offers a good opportunity to work towards a 'Conspiracy Theorist' Accolade badge.

This article uses material from the "Manticore" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

Manticores (from Persian martikhoras, meaning man-eater) were mythological creatures in Greek mythology. They were said to have the body of a lion, a human head, and three rows of teeth similar to sharks. Although it changes from story to story, they were also commonly said to have the tail of a dragon or a scorpion. They were also sometimes said to be able to shoot poisonous spines from their tails. When early Greeks noticed that someone had gone missing, some viewed this as proof that manticores existed.

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